SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … Willie Marshall, the American Hockey League’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played and a charter member of the league’s Hall of Fame, passed away today at his home in Lebanon, Pa.
Marshall was 91.
“At a time when there were only six teams in the National Hockey League, Willie Marshall was one of the greatest players not just in the AHL but in the entire sport of hockey,” said AHL President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson. “His contributions helped shape the AHL’s tradition of excellence that continues to this day. But more importantly, Willie was a devoted family man of character and faith; our deepest condolences go out to his son Will; his daughters Ann, Jane and Joanne; and his entire family.”
A talented scorer and playmaker, Marshall dominated the AHL over 20 seasons with the Pittsburgh Hornets (1952-56), Hershey Bears (1956-63), Rochester Americans (1958-59, 1971-72), Providence Reds (1963-66) and Baltimore Clippers (1966-71). More than a half-century after his retirement, Marshall remains the AHL’s career leader with 523 goals, 852 assists, 1,375 points and 1,205 games played.
The native of Kirkland Lake, Ont., was voted a First Team AHL All-Star in 1955-56 and again in 1957-58, when he won the league scoring title with a career-best 104 points in 68 games. He was also a Second Team All-Star selection in 1961-62.
Additionally, Marshall, a three-time Calder Cup champion (with Pittsburgh in 1955 and with Hershey in 1958 and 1959), ranks second in league history with 119 career playoff points over 112 postseason games.
“We mourn the loss of Willie Marshall, one of the Hershey Bears’ and the American Hockey League’s finest citizens,” said Bears vice president of hockey operations and AHL Hall of Fame member Bryan Helmer. “Willie left an indelible mark on our franchise’s history. He was a champion, a leader, and a first-class person whose contributions to the league and game of hockey were immeasurable. Our thoughts are with Willie’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
In 2004, the American Hockey League honored its career scoring leader with the creation of the Willie Marshall Award, which is now presented annually to the AHL player who scores the most goals each season. And in 2006, Marshall was one of seven members of the inaugural class of inductees into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame.
“The Rochester Americans are deeply saddened by Willie’s passing,” said Amerks Hall of Famer Jody Gage, who alongside Marshall was a charter member of the AHL Hall of Fame Class of 2006. “Willie is and remains one of the most iconic figures in our league, and in the game of hockey, and he will be missed greatly. The entire Amerks organization extends its condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time.”
Marshall will be remembered with a moment of silence tonight before Hershey and Rochester, two of his former teams, meet in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Rochester, N.Y.